Since the Brexit vote in the summer of 2016, I have been living and traveling in the ‘Heart of Europe’, photographing Poland and its people. Just as my own country was moving away from Europe, I was moving closer with my camera.
The Poles (Polacy) documents my crisscrossing of Poland during 2016 and 2017, and the photographs I have taken form my personal portrait of the country. As an outsider, looking in on Polish society through a foreign lens, I have tried to find lasting and meaningful images of Poland in the split-second moments of its cities and streets.
I have been influenced a lot by the style and scope of Robert Frank’s The Americans and Ian Berry’s The English. I have tried to situate myself in this tradition of looking at the idea of a nation and its culture, taking a few years to explore and travel, trying to make sense – visually – of the varied impressions it makes upon me.
I think my pictures are connected both by humour and sadness, by themes of contrast and division. I hope they show, in layers of the everyday, some of the essential fragments of Polish social, cultural, political, economic, and religious life.
In the end, what I have produced is a record of what I think is worth looking at, of what has affected me, of what has moved me in various ways. I have chosen my favourite photographs to include in the final project, a selection that will always rub against a comprehensive view, and be instead a glimpse of what I have seen and of what can be seen. It’s up to viewers to decide what the photographs are about and what they add up to.
Richard Morgan is a British-born street photographer who has been living in Poland since the Brexit referendum. Having been awarded a PhD from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, he is now photographing in the region. Richard is an award-winning photographer whose work from St. Petersburg, Russia, has recently won first prize in the Ben Uri Gallery’s photography competition in London. Richard has lived and photographed in Russia, USA, China, United Kingdom, and now Poland, where he has just finished shooting for his project The Poles (Polacy).
The Poles (Polacy) exhibition will run 12th March – 13th April at Waterstones, 82 Gower St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6EQ, United Kingdom.